NY Rangers Release Johan Hedberg from PTO; Biron Secures Backup Role

Rob WatersCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2013

Martin Biron will retain his role as Henrik Lundqvist's backup for the 2013-14 season.
Martin Biron will retain his role as Henrik Lundqvist's backup for the 2013-14 season.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The New York Rangers have released Johan Hedberg from his professional tryout (PTO), effectively securing the backup goaltending roster spot for Martin Biron. The announcement was made this morning through the official New York Rangers Twitter account.

Hedberg had agreed to a PTO last week with the Rangers while Biron was away attending to personal issues. It was not immediately clear when Biron would be able to return, leading to wide speculation that Hedberg could become Henrik Lundqvist's backup, at least in the short term.

However, Biron returned to camp late last week and performed strongly last night in a 3-2 preseason win against the Philadelphia Flyers. Although Biron faced only six shots, several were high-quality chances from the Flyers' Vincent Lecavalier.

After 31 minutes and 22 seconds of action, Biron was replaced by 26-year-old rookie Cam Talbot in net, who stopped 11 of 12 shots on goal. After a defensive lapse by Dylan McIlrath, the Flyers' Max Talbot rushed up the boards and scored against Talbot.

Biron made it clear after the game that he was fully aware he was competing against Hedberg to maintain his roster spot, according to a tweet by Andrew Gross of New Jersey paper The Daily Record: "I think the urgency is to new coaching staff. I want to show them what I can bring to the team."

With Cam Talbot continuing his development as the starting goaltender in Hartford, and Biron in his final contract year with the Rangers, Hedberg effectively became the odd man out.

The Rangers also announced that forwards Ryan Bourque, Josh Nicholls, Shawn O’Donnell and Michael St. Croix and defenseman Brendon Nash were assigned to Hartford.